Thursday, December 31

444 and i'm out.

four hundred and forty four posts about Folk Life & Liberty
in the remote white mountainous reaches of the great northern woodsly goodness.
that's a lot.
and that's no lie.
we had our share of sandwiches this year, over and over, for weeks on end,
and we had a pair of falafel explosions, at home and at the fair.
the world unfurled it's sails, and set out to escape from my grabbing hands,
but i bit down, and held on,
and now, as the year nears it's end,
and my thirties whittle down to just one last week as well,
i'm forced to look at the life i've got, and the way it's unfolded along the errant
and asymmetrical creases of the origami chaos
of the secret universal plans and blueprints.
today is the day, neighbors.
the last one.
we're saying goodbye to all of the old,
and ringing in some of the new;
although, if the truth is to be told, and it always is,
i'll actually BE old,
and definitively busted as well.
time travel, kids.
it's happening.
we've got hours to go before the most important mantra gets spit out
into the ephemeral ether like a mouthful of magma mist.
i'm putting on asbestos lip balm in preparation for the repetitive syllables
that'll hopefully cultivate fortuitous circumstance throughout the forthcoming leaping year.
i've had a good run, this year,
working especially hard, and especially loud, and impossibly fresh,
just to get what needed doing done in time to turn into a new decade with
an effectively edited encyclopedia of expert edicts under my belt.
there's a whole lot of blank space on which to write a new future.
that's rad.
before all that though,
we've got sparkling cider and hot fire and fancy dinner to enjoy.
tonight is the night,
and we're going out in style.
in addition to all the good things to come,
we've got some pretty great treats to say goodbye to '15 with.
check the coconut-cake-type teleport:

caramelized coconut palm sweetness and brown sugar,
stirred into coconut flour and shredded unsweetened coconut flakes.
they're moist, and thick, like brownies,
and they're really packed with coocnut milk and coconut oil fattiness,
because if we're gonna go out with a worthy winter treat,
it's gonna be a big fat bomb of burly right-angled exceptional activation.
and working towards that meant whipping up some cream-de-coco-style frosting filling,
and swirling some on the surface as well.
that's cute, certainly, but it'snot enough for our fond farewell, now is it?
rules is rules, guys,
and too much is the right amount is foremost among them.
so i also stirred up a fuss, and flipped off a little something extra,
sorta special,
and very crispy, too.
those stars are coconut shortbread, and they're SO good.
that's the way to say sayonara, suckas.
for really real.
we're awaiting what's next.
we've packed our baggage,
we've stowed our supplies,
and we're ready for the good things to come.
i am grateful for the time i have been given,
and for the ones i travel through these spans of time alongside.
today is the last goodbye of the year,
and tomorrow is the biggest hello.
make sure you're ready;
never quiet, never soft.....

dumps on YOUR face.

hey neighbors.
it's the last day.
and that means that it's a somber and semi-sh!tty sort of day.
because goodbyes are always bad,
even when they're more of a good riddance banishment.
that's my least favorite part.
like, when there just isn't any more.
it feels the same as when there's no cake left,
or there isn't any more money,
or any more mutha-effing time.
that's the hardest style, really:
having not enough when too much is the right amount.
and besides,
when you aren't trying to end the year as a drunken A*-hole,
so you can start next year off properly,
with hot diarrhea, sour vomit, and a headache-
you don't go all that crazy on the party scene,
or the late night funtime activities.
that's real.
just because we won't be out screaming and inebriated,
or desperately clinging to the idea that goodbyes are a reason to celebrate,
that doesn't mean we're sending the year off unloved and uncommemorated.
no way.
in fact,
with all the mother-F*ing bullsh!t snow,
and all the mad-dash d!ckturds who've clogged the whole
of the woodsly goodness with their privilege,
scrambling up halfway through the vacationy week to ruin the finale,
slaloming through the streets,
and blackening the diamonds of the slops like an infestation.
the lesion of these legions at their leisure,
bursting and posturing their pustules at this premier providence
of pow-powder courtesy of ma nature.
that's gross, but so are all the people who populate the second homes
and ski chalets of any snowy mountain town on the weekends.
we won't be drinking,
because that's THE lamest.
and we won't be skiing,
because we don't have time to squander on unproductive amusements;
we've got work to do.
we're working people, we put in work, we work with purpose.
and when we make it work,
we really work it out.
what i mean is,
we eat well, we talk a lot about everything,
and we span time side by side, arm in arm,
as a savage stormswept motivated dedicated tribe of warrior poets.
last night,
as in,
the second-to-last night of this year,
we dominated a powerful parcel of pouches of pure super-elite turbo hottness.
that's no joke, kids.
i started early, because that's what i do,
with tofu, and shallots and scallions and carrots and celery,
and i simmered that until it softened some,
and i fired up some minced garlic, and some soy sauce, and rice wine vinegar,
and ginger, g.p.o.p., mustard, and roughly ground black pepper,
and when that got exxxtra-browned,
i blasted it up a nother notch,
with napa cabbage, and shredded brussels sprouts, and mung shoots,
and i let that get a little extra-fire-fried in a dab of sesame oil.
word up.
that's how you get expert with what you won't see later.
that's a thing.
because that's just what goes on the INside of our bigtime burly business...
when it's nighttime,
and it's party-time in the style of sober homies
and snow day suppers are underway,
we mix up, knead through, roll out, cut up, stuff tight, and fold over
a whole bunch of overlapping doughy circles,
and make the best of being the best at being the best.
that's how it is, and that's what we do.
enough of the words about the good stuff we've got-
check the teleport:

we got the next-level pure-power nutrients from the mo'flippin' future.
sesame oil fried on two sides, with a furious bubbling steam-punking
whirlwind of superheated ambient moisture making sure they're cooked straight through.
we doo-doo that dirty diaperload of dopeness-type sh!t.
word up.
is that sesame sriracha spicy sauce for dipping?
it sure is.
with garlic and chili paste and sesame oil and sesame seeds
in that red ragnarok of righteous heat and fire for my mouth.
we ALWAYS run the tamari-ginger-scallion jauns, too,
because too much is the right amount,
and that's the only way we know how to do it.
a little sweet, a little sour, a lot of salty, and chock full of spiced up flavor,
added into the first-bitten opening of each dumpling,
charging the taste with combustible lusciousness,
so that the ensuing flavor grenade blast radius covers every available inch of
facepiece with maxxximum hottness.
it's real.
and it worked,
and we destroyed a triple batch of these weapons-grade self-contained delights.
i couldn't help myself,
i needed more,
so i kept making more.
and we ate every last one of them.
speaking of dumps.
i dunno if you folks enjoy my sense of humor.
i mean,
i'll agree it's puerile,
and most frequently also gastrointestinal,
and that's at it's best,
but, still,
an opportunity presents itself where the act of passing it up
would be so wasteful as to be unforgivable.
yesterday, as ampy took fabulous photos on our winter family hike
through the immediate woodsly goodness,
i caught a glimpse of those globes,
and i did what i felt i had to.

i mean, for real, though, that HAD to happen.
dumps on dumps on dumps.
we live it, we love it, you like it, you want it,
and all of it is really happening.
that's the whole point;
never quiet, never soft.....

mountaintop muffintops.

get that corn outta my face!
corn is good for you, probably.
cornmeal is, definitely.
i mean, it's a meal in itself.
the name says so.
here's the thing-
i get up SO much earlier than everybody else.
it's not the earliest in the whole wide world,
in the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress.
i'm up hours and hours before the next creature starts stirring.
even crabtree, my a.m. wake-up warrior terrier,
craps and crunches on some kibble with me;
but then he still crashes back out for a few most mornings.
it's true.
but i'm an early riser,
and i'm a get-busy guy when i'm awake.
morning people are the best people,
and for whatever reason,
they all seem more adult to me than late sleepers.
y'feel me?
i'm sayin',
no disrespect to all the beautyresters still snuggled up under the covers,
but c'mon, snoozers,
there's work to do.
i stay ugly, i stay dope,
and i get up and at 'em from the jump-off.
that means that as soon as my eyes pop open,
i'm out the door with the dog,
the teakettle is on,
there oven is lit,
the toast is browning up,
and there's bowls and buckets of treats getting activated.
i'm writing out these true stories for y'all to read when you finally wake up.
when i'm up before the crack of dawn's earliest first lights,
i make sure that i've got something nicey-nice for my family to wake up to.
that said,
you know i get it fired up,
and that's where we return to the corn and the relationship
of it's proximity to my face.
check the yellow-gold-type teleport:

maple-syrup corn muffins!
sun-kissed warm knobbly nuggets of breakfast sorcery,
served up split up,
with some beautiful butteryish blops on top.
masarepa, and coarse grits,
and semolina flour which is like wheatcorn (it's yellow),
and a slow-curdled batch of cider-vinegar whisked soymilk,
with a cup of unsweetened apple-style sauce, melted butters,
and that tree sap slap that sweetens the whole deal considerably.
the batter rests, the butter melts, the corn-grains soften,
and the outer skin gets just crisp enough to bend before it breaks
at the very first bite.
i do what i do, because it needs doing.
i guess could sleep in,
if i was somehow physically incapacitated, and able to stay idle for longer,
but then,
NObody would get muffins,
and that's some bullsh!t.
i had the day off yesterday.
a snow day, with shoveling and snowshoeing,
and wintry outdoor family togetherness needs energy to be accomplished.
that's no joke.
i couldn't skimp out on the first meal of my last full day with my peoples.
i mean, c'mon,.
what am i?
an A-hole?
so i made it good from the very first to the very last,
and we overlapped all our time,
and that way, it felt like longer, and it seemed like more,
and that's really all i ever want for me and mine.
so out of all these excellent days this week,
there's actually only one whole day with harvest and maple
and ampy and crabtree.
and it's already over.
although we'll have fun tonight,
it'll be after work.
and yes, i'm working tomorrow, too,
to start the new year with realistic expectations;
and it's the same the next day, and the next, and so on,
so it's really only our in-between time that makes the memories mean something,
and that's accomplished through concentrated interactive participation.
it starts with muffins,
and it spreads to treats, and treks, and tricks, and texts, and teaching,
and it goes on until it's darker than dark and the snow looks blue in the moonlight.
it's ALL really happening,
and i wouldn't change much,
maybe i'd like a little more company in the first four hours of the day;
never quiet, never soft.....

Wednesday, December 30

the end is near.

yesterday was a snow day!
which, of course, meant anything could happen,
and a whole lot of it actually did,
there's a phenomenon that occurs the instant that frozen precipitation
starts sticking to the soil and sh!t.
what's that, now?
your guess is that it's winter wonderlanding i'm referring to?
no way.
i mean,
you know i don't tell stories about the nicey-niceties of daily real life.
i tell true stories about the hard styles we witness,
and the wearying, worrisome woes of warrior poetry.
that said.
here's what happens when the weather outside is frightful:
the rain-slicked ice-rimed snow-packed treacherous roadways
mean that every necktarded pick'emup trucker from the outskirts
of the woodsly goodness HAVE to prove their up-hereness
by barreling around the streets like a bunch of imbecile juggernauts.
the good thing about that?
they come and they get tattooed.
nothing wrong with that from where i was sitting,
which was at the tattzap studio.
oh, right, dads don't get snow days.
there is only ever work days, and long days,
not big fun icy crystalline congress with the arctic elements.
no way.
i've got movie checks to make, neighbors.
a grand don't come for free,
and the way the world works,
it goes twice or thrice as quickly as it grows.
i worked a whole bunch.
i shoveled a lot, too,
and i plotted a course for this year's end that promises to be one
which i will feel  will fulfill the prerequisite levels of hottness
we've come to appreciate and expect from the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress.
oh yeah.
i also
cooked a pile of pasta with sauce and beans an' that,
for the fourth time in five days.
we haven't had the same thing twice,
we don't do it like that.
even a variety of bowlfuls of beige and brownish red isn't nearly photogenic enough
to repeatedly document day after day after day.
it tastes good, but it looks rough.
we stay ugly,we stay dope, and we eat well,
even we if we resemble what we're putting in our mouths, if you weren't already aware of the rules.
i don't know what y'all do when you text your people.
i do what i've always done.
that's right.
i make it weird,
and i kind of ruin it.
for real.
the jokes i tell aren't jokes,
but i still think they're funny.
for example,
if your dad sent you this,
would you laugh?

oh, stop.
that hasn't been strictly true for over a decade.
i don't know if my kids find me amusing,
but i still chuckle a little every time i look at this haggard mess
of screen-glare-lit loose skin and roughened cheekmeats.
i watch you poop.
that's what i tell my dog, duders,
because it actually happens a bunch of times every day...
we're running out of '15 real effing fast.
i've got snow and ice and fog and rain ruining the outside times
of my one day away from work this week,
i've also got three fresh family members,
and my main man crabtree to keep me company during the inside times.
all things being considered equal,
i s'pose i'm coming out ahead on the scales of spirit and memory.
i've been baking treats since six,
i'm gonna start some exxxtra-sexy advanced dinner preparations in a moment,
i've been sipping on custom pancake breakfast tea,
blended to my exacting specifications.
oh, yeah.
i have my own signature tea now.
because i'm expert...
check it out:

some information has been redacted for my own protection,
but the essence is there for you to envy.
and for the record,
it tastes F*ing dooooooooope.
then again,
that should be obvious, stoopidheads.
i don't believe in half-measures or taking it easy.
too much is the right amount,
and that applies to the marigold petals mixed right in with the loose leaves
for extra honey-colored hottness,
and an irish breakfast base for super-strong syrupy body;
and french vanilla beany assam black business,
AND coconutty double-infused ceylon creepin' in the cut.
like i said: expert.
it compliments a stack of those griddlers that you see on the label.
those are MY coconut oatmeal vanilla flappyjackers, btw.
i'm just sayin'.
you're doing your thing,
i'm doing mine,
and we're doing ours.
it's all really happening,
and the measure and mark of what's good is staring us right in the face.
i watch you poop, i drink my tea,
i bake those cakes.
this is it, as the second to last begins with a burst of activity;
never quiet, never soft.....

Monday, December 28

ghosts and harbingers.

the past and the future.
that's what happens to happen whenever i'm back home.
the werewolfen full moon mayhem of this holiday season
pulled us all along like meteoric star-iron shrapnel,
kicking and screaming, and grating against the grain of all things
silent and night, as well as quiet, soft, and/or knightly.
there were no big explosions,
no blow-up blow-out knock-down & drag-'em-outs.
we all played nice, inasmuch as the overlaps of time and space we allotted
allowed us freedom of movement and expression.
that's a good thing.
that many monstrous temperaments and the high temperatures inside and outside
could've very well been a blast-furnace of furious fuego,
and an open-air wholesale market for past grievances.
the old folks passed the baton for barbarian big action down one generation,
and the kids all grew up a whole lot since last season.
time goes down hard,
and it leaves a mark.
for example,
the guru of supreme intelligence,
the source of all initial decrees,
the dude of dopeness and destruction,
a.k.a. my father,
has weathered the maelstrom of spirit and memory
in the style of unbattened hatches and sorely shivered timbers.
it's been a rough road, and a long ride...
...and it sort of shows,
surprisingly less so than the miles he's ridden would lead us to believe.
i mean,
werewolfen warrior poetry,
and berserker barbarian battle beastly beguiling,
and black-sailed bard business all run in the family,
but the moustache game skipped over me pretty much completely-
the unfolding future looks like damned godless country,
especially when compared with the past,
which had it's own grim tidings and rough ridings.
don't believe me?
but remember, truth tellers can never stop.
now check the teleport:

the winter wolf with world-weary eyes.
the distance between then and now is longer than the length of life i've had thus far.
there's slow-simmering sauce that pulses like blood through our veins,
and it sustains the soulfire in the forge far past the point
where regular folks would falter, flail, and ultimately fail.
no matter how hard the style,
no matter the measure (or lack) of success,
we endure.
it's sort of our thing.
time travel only works in one direction, neighbors.
and we move forward as a matter of principle.
things change, or do they?
i have my doubts,
and i have my orders,
and it's all really happening.
it's ugly, and it's the truth,
and there's nothing for it but to continue.
anything else is categorically uninvited;
never quiet, never soft.....

Sunday, December 27

big eats.

too much is the right amount.
that's always and forever.
the directive we follow into the future,
and the mantra we recite every day besides the first of the month.
did XImas breakfast go to eleven?
we weren't about to phone it in like a batch of baby turdlets.
don't be dumb.
i was up early.
as usual.
in fact,
in started the batter for panniecakes,
and baked a bunch of potatoes,
and started the scrambled tofu jauns,
well in advance of the earliest risers...
i guess when everybody else gets a whole bunch of christmases,
it's not a big deal to get up at the break of dawn
and gush over the powerful piles of presents for the second or third time.
so, the pannicakin' bowl rested and relaxed,
and the taters roasted golden and good,
and the nootch seeped deep into the crimbo scram',
so really,
the waiting game proved portentious to my peoples.
yay for them.
we had a big breakfast for our big day.
check the teleport:

brick-hued baconical strippers of card-ishly boardlike planks,
drizzled with real maple syrup,
and our famous coconut-oatmeal heart-and-circle'cakes,
and that nootch-blasted firm and fresh tofu crumblin',
and those homeboy skin-on homefries.
we needed fuel for our faces,
and power for our big presentation.
......and it all worked out perfectly.
i'm so psyched to have a family that really loves food,
and who all are open-minded about the weirdie vegan delights
i've got on offer from the furnaces of the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress.
the woodsly goodness is seeping into this tasty kitchen,
and we're all better off for it's inclusion into the essence of excellence
we enjoy in our edibles.'d better believe it.
and after a long day of doing fun stuff,
and stuffing our faces,
and unstuffing our stockings,
we gave ourselves a new challenge for the evening-.
dominating a double bag's worth of hefty
uber-deluxXxe turbo-big burly nachooooooooooooooos.
check the overdoing-it-type teleport:

blue corn jauns, and those xochitl fancies,
covered in daiya(rhhea) chee',
and supercharged refried beans,
and homemade taco crumblin' ground browns,
and more chee',
and black beans,
and black olives,
and two kinds of crimbo colored red and green taco sauces ,
and cilantro garnish...
we doo-doo a huge lucha libre layer on layered shark-gluttonous good time.
if you can't hang out with bold flavors and superfresh spicy hottness,
stay home and eat weak sh!t,
we'll just be over here dominating the whole culinary spectrum .
because that's what we do.
either way,
it's all really happening,
and that's the whole freakin' point;
never quiet, never soft.....

XImas, illustrated.

that's the stuff.
the day after all y'all have your entry-level starter kit holiday,
we doo-doo our own version,
an upgrade, and an improvement,
one fresher, one harder, and one louder than Xmas.
we wouldn't want to only do it as good as everyone else already did.
what are you?
an A*-hole?
no way, neighbors.
we want that new-new, and uber-improved revised and updated jauns.
i mean, for really real,
nobody likes a weak-sauce waterbabyish holiday full of poopie-diaper
mediocrity and middle-rung underreaching for all the bnig action.
do they?
well, WE can't hang out with that crap,
because we believe in the mantra of MORE:
too much is the right amount.
you know it.
with that being said...
did you know that we took color coordinated super-official new hottness
to a whole other OTHER 'nother level of expertism this year?
we did.
the thing of it is,
if you're gonna get rad,
you gotta get real rad.
and when it comes to keeping it real,
we excel.
and we get real new englandy with the bricks and hardwood backdrop;
and real molto-molto-paper-patterned,
and crisp-creased metallic-foil fresh with our wrap game;
and the stacks on stacks on stacks stay stacked-up,
because shystie piles can't come to the party.
not once, not never.
i know about capturing a magical holiday spirit and memory.
it's part of the training any worth-a-sh!t warrior poet undergoes.
on the ones,
when it comes to XImas,
it goes to eleven,
and then a little mas, muy, and mucho.
actualy, instead of just imagining the scene,
check the crackery layout on the fireplaced-display-of-dopeness-type teleport:

we get a little fresca caliente on the holiday present presentation.
i mean,
if you're gonna bring the thunder,
you need some lightning-striking viking plunder
to really make it happen.
that's no joke.
and those stocking are STUFFED, guys.
up to, and including, the cream-colored wide stripe exxxtra-fancy candy-style canes.
no bright white ones,
no candy flavors.
i understand that's a tradition in a lot of places,
but that's what poor people do,
and that's no invited to the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress..
the big boxes in back, packed full of a myriad of treats,
and those homemade birch-antlered animal ornaments on top of 'em?
those are the added excellence of amber's involvement in our lives.
and speaking of that sweet baby-b!tchass ja-bomb-a-tron-
when it was time to finally get serious for my homegirl ampy-d,
i activated a series of short stacks of solid gold sexXxiness,
with overflow basketry and papery shimmer sorcery.

you know the rules, y'all.
if you can tolerate me all year,
there will be profit sharing,
and an XImas bonus in the fourth quarter.
we know how to party,
and we know about giving good gifts.
my little lovely ampy didn't slouch, slack, or skimp out on yours truly, either:

remember when you were a kid, and you'd list all the sh!t you got?
well, that's about to go down right now-
seven hats;
skulls, and horns and crystals;
books and books and books;
a full box of the burliest cigars, and a side order of even more stumps;
clothes- from shoes and socks to gloves and everything else in-between;
enough candy to decay my teeth and my great-grandchildren's too;
totoro toys;
cookie cutters and cake molds;
and all the vikings, which we've already really been enjoying;
i got spoiled, and i really appreciate the holy sh!t out of that gesture.
what happens when two people both try really super hard together?
synergistic effect,.
that is what happens.
look it up.
we do everything pretty damned beautifully.
why shouldn't we?
why wouldn't we?
it's one of the prime tenets of expert gift giving.
every aspect is important.
the scented tealights in each box that match the candles that emanate
a christmasy aroma, and infuse the fabric with olfactory reminiscing?
that's what we do.
the coordinated color scheming?
the fact that traditions unfold in serious series and sequence,
and overlap with spirit and memory to make sure we have the most, the best,
the prettiest picturesque, poignant perfectly-paired holiday family togetherness
in mutha-F*ing full effect?
there is only this, and this alone to remember:
it's all really happening,
and your active or passive particpatory or spectatorly involvement
will determine the course towards fantastic or failing.
we choose to overdo it,
because we know how the scene plays out....
anything less is a batch of b!tchsap;
never quiet, never soft.....

we three, and sometimes four.

it's just us.
me and my peoples.
and in this case,
me and my children.
i'm feeling especially fortunate to have a decent stretch of vacationy wintertime
holiday family togetherness going on all around me.
i mean,
the time we've got as a group is limited,
so we've got to make the most of it.
we doo-doo that all-in-together-now type sh!t.
how else would we go about actively participating in our minutes,
and our days,
and our lives as a team of terrible and terrific,
tremendous and tempestuous,
triumphant trumpeters of the truth.
we're real life documentarians,
and we're all the way about that sh!t.
this is us:

we're here to get real F*ing expert,
and also to take our holiday timespans to eleven.
for serious, we're on a mission.
it's no secret, either.
on the ones,
even more so than on any other important day,
-which just so happens to actually be every single day-
we're doing our damnedest to have a good time,
with great food, and better company, and super-fresh family bonding
over movies and music and meals and magical winter mixed-up weather patterns.
those kinds of days are the best,
and they're ALL important when we're enjoying them as a trio,
or, almost as often.
as a quartet with ampy-d tossed into the mix.
crosby, stills, nash, & young-style.
word up.
getting older,
getting taller,
growing up,
changing on the outside and the inside.
these days,
and these years,
where it all evolves and adapts,
expanding and enlarging and filling in all the blanks
around the emerging independenceof teenagers,
and the accentuated interdependence of all of us on each other.....
these are the times i'm holding onto tightly.
they're fleeting and they're evasive,
and they're the last scraps of childhood i'll get to have with these guys-
these kids want freedom,
but they still need a ride, y'feel me?
so it's their reliance, and my encouragement,
and our gives and takes that get the party started-
it's all really happening,
and i'm feeling a little nostalgic while i stare at their changing faces.
hard styles don't just inspire hard feelings, kids.
i'm enjoying the ladies who interlock and envelop my doings;
never quiet, never soft.....

Saturday, December 26

berfdays and beyond.

i had a nice time in connecticut,
i did.
i didn't stop moving for very long,
and i rarely sat still in one place for any substantial amount of time,
if i'm gonna have a christmastime in the place i'm from?
i'm gonna doo-doo all that i gotta do,
and i'm gonna do it to eleven,
and then come back home to the woodsly goodness,
snuggle myself in a nestled-up nook of the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress,
and have myself a merry maximum XImas.
y'feel me?
i hot connecticut hard, neighbors-
i jumped right in,
and started swinging at all the experiences i needed to have happen,
and all the pieces started aligning in a super-elite sequence
that added up to an overall expert experience.
i was so busy doing stuff,
i didn't even capture images of all of it.
here's a highlight reel from the time i spanned:

emergency tofutti!!!!
color-coordinated holiday sprankles make it taste better,
that's real.
..,and anyway,
berfday cones are kind of a tradition for me and mine.
and you know i hit up allllll the blops, right?

lalibela ethipian is another 'nother tradition i'm decreeing as a mandatory must-do
whenever there's a spare day in the south-central scented city of new haven.
for serious,
that sh!t is THE sh!t, and zero percent sh!tty,
although the other diners left a little to be desires.
ah, that's the way the injera unfolds, i s'pose.
and cake?
we OBviously had cake:

at world famous pepe's pizzeria??
you know we rocked it,
after i terrorized an entire pizza all to myself,
which was a face-filling fat kid one-man-show,
since my pie arrived after everyone else had already shared
all of their meaty non-vegan exxxtra-italian traditional jauns.
i ate it in record time, anyway,
because too much is the right amount,
and i needed room on the table, if not in my bellyhole, for cake.
we spanned so much time, me and mine.
family togetherness,
without fighting,
IS possible....
we just proved it over eighty or so hours.
it was good.
i went shopping with my ma,
out cruising with my dad,
visited one sister, and then the other,
and i even cooked dinner on the eve and the big day,
including some tasty bits like this:

i hate slimy mushrooms, kids.
i make 'em hearty, and tight, without the sluglike rubber
of weak-sauce kitchen-b!tches.
and brussels?

i doo-doo that freaky soy-glazed fry-up like a mutha-'ucking champion.
we had maple-sweetened cornbread,
and cranberry sauce.
there was butternut squash, a la fortress-
with pecans, cinnamon, dried cranberries and shallots;
we ate a big ol' batch of gravy-soaked stuffin',
with veggie crumblers and leeks and cornbread for days all up in it.
it was a feast.
my father made marinara,
because italians HAVE to beat up some macaroni on every holiday,
and i fired in all little tempeh bacon to my rigatonis.
it was all expert,
and i loved every minute, every flavor, and every person.
i guess i caught a mild case of holiday spirit.
i doubt my heart grew any sizes,
but i'm sure it thawed out considerably,
which makes prefect sense considering how outright hot it was outside.
weird weather, and close family-
overlaps of olden days, and new futures,
mixed together and colliding in hugs instead of calamity.
i guess we're all getting too old to keep the old wars alive, kids,
and thar's a definite improvement.
i mean, on the ones-
my dad ate vegan waffles.
VEGAN ones.
with gay milk in 'em and everything.
i'm not foolin', but i am very surprised.
after twenty years of not giving any F*s about my 'extremist lifestyle,
and he's dominating homemade non-box-mix jammers from my own custom recipe...
that's right.
and he had more than one, at that.
sure he put the pretend jemima brown junk on them, and added straight non-gay butter,
but still,
the base was 100% albie rock coconut oatmeal magic.
word up.
i'm just sayin',
i don't believe in christmas miracles,
but that's as close as i've ever been to one.
and i got crabtree a few things while i was out.
i mean,
rules is rules,
and gators and crabs are what i get for my alligator shark crab, after all:

he's spoiled,
just like everybody else i know.
i do that, because gratitude and generosity are the
two of the most important parts of showing appreciation
in any worth-a-sh!t bellowing bard's warrior poetry.
i spend my mone, i spread my wealth,
and i span my time with the ones who enrich my moments,
and ennoble my motives with reciprocity.
active participation is a perpetual motion machine.
it's all really happening,
and i am grateful for the week i've spent and earned;
never quiet, never soft.....

i repeat myself a lot, and often.

my face is not for admiring, neighbors,
it's for effacing and defacing and decorating.
real talk,
i had a busy connecticut visit,
and i spanned several of those very warm,
southerly moments making my face look effed up.
check the copious-connecticitis-type teleport:









through the long nights and dark places visit.
there's something fulfilling in ruining my image.
this isn't a strictly connecticut thing,
as you know,
and not all of the pictures i've painted happened down there:


fish monster?


terrible knight.

and just plain terrible.
i figured we'd end on a low note,
since real life is usually uglier than how we curate the memory of it.
stay ugly, stay dope,
and keep wrecking your own face.
believe it or not,
it helps;
never quiet, never soft.....

Tuesday, December 22

wishing upon a maple star.

that's what i'm talking about.
i mean it.
today is day one of the crapricorn moon.
(no, i didn't spell it wrong, if you know one of us, you know that's a thing)
it's also a big day in the world of worthy warrior poetry in motion.
today is the day.
the big day.
.......a berfday.
for serious,
maple star,
my youngest child,
my delightful, insightful, artistic, dramatic, emphatic, ecstatic
and comparatively tall kid, turns fourteen years old.
fourteen years,
in a row, and all of that growth and development,
in character, and in form, function, and flavorfulness,
all  culminates in pizza and cake and sh!t,
and that really happens in just a few short hours,
and one long drive,
and a gathering of hard styles under a hard rain.
word up.
i'm psyched to see my progeny.
i've got some pretty mutha-effing expert offspring,
and i sure as heck am super-turbo grateful for 'em.
i got the inside scoop on teen-aged angst,
hell, i think i may have some lingering leftovers from my own
misshapen and distorted formative years hovering at the periphery.....
i guess i'm good to go when it comes to fourteen year olds.
i hope so,
because this not-so-little one is very important to me,
and i'd hate to miss a step,
or miss out at all on what's up with the world this small leaf grows in.
i think you do.
i love that virtuous viking,
and i've taken a liking to the sense and sensibility maple has.
so much so,
in fact,
that when i was asked for a sunovab!tching strawberry cake,
with lemon frosting,
i complied in full effect, despite having no real inkling
of exactly how to doo-doo that fresa-fueled fresh-to-deathness.
i started confounded,
and ended with a newfound appreciation for fruit-flavored baked goods.
you didn't think i'd drop the ball on a BERFDAY cake, did you?
don't be dumb.
i take care of my peoples.
check the teleport:

strawberry jam, and puree, and powdered freeze-dried strawberries,
with strawberry concentrate,
and a little lemon oil to activate that berry business' bigger and better superpowers.
the cake is pink inside.
i mean, for real,
it is:

that's right.
and that's the result of reddening the batter.
i did it, and i'm not ashamed.
strawberries turn lavender in floury flourishes under ovenly heat,
and a pinkish-grey tint is NOT invited to the party.
no way.
so i turned it up a tad,
and then held both layers together with lemony strawberry frosting.
that's also pink.
the main body of sugary sensuality?
lemon frosting,
the accents?
strawberry, AND lemon-strawberry.
triple treats on top, in varying degrees of fade-away color.
it's expert.
and there're even strawberry chips on there, imbedded in the swirls.
that's a lot?
shuuuuuut up-
rules is rules,
and too much is the right amount.
i'm all about it,
the family is about it,
and hopefully,
you're about to be 'bout it-'bout it, too.
this is What Is:

14 years of this one.
i am grateful for the time i have been given.
i am grateful for the people i span time with.
it's all really happening,
and that's the whole point.
welcome to winter,
welcome to the world of worthy warrior poetry,
welcome aboard the berfday train;
never quiet, never soft.....

dark. dark.. dark...

awwww, man.
the sun never showed it's face
not even a dim ray.
no shining, no warmth, no nothin'.....
winter started off darker than usual,
and acrried it's soulless solstice into today.
time is a tough one to tell,
when it's not recorded in light and heat.
when the nighttimes determine the crossover of seasons,
today becomes yesterday,
and both become the first day of winter.
it started off confusing,
and also,
it started off with a whole stack of documents being signed,
sent off,
paid for, in full,
and otherwise accounted for,
in F*ing full effect.
that's a thing.
a whole ream of paper,
collated in sequence,
initialed, and dated, and submitted,
for MY approval, and more importantly,
the bank's approval,
to make some meaningful plans become one step closer to reality.
what do you duders know about mortgages?
oh, really?
well, i just got a new one.
a presumably much better one.
a transfer of the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress from old and busted jauns,
to just the one old and busted warrior poet,
providing for copious quantities of that new-new hottness.
for a few seconds on a windswept sh!t-salad sandwich of a dark and dreary day,
it felt like summer again,
as my favorite place in the whole wide world
became officially, and in a legally binding many-decades-long death pledge,
all the way live, all the way expert,
and all the way mine all mine all mine.
to celebrate,
i burned all the paper products,
and a huge pile of leaves,
all in the firepit, of course,
but with enough smoke to cough up a lung or two for the rest of the night.
check the teleport:

nothing screams out new beginnings like black lung,
am i right?
it's all part of a bigger picture,
but the hot fire is a key component to all of it.
marking the solstice,
activating the Fortress,
removing the past,
replacing the present with a raging barbarian berserker blitzkrieg
of active participation and overactive imagination from the far-flung folds
of an unknowable future.
that's a lot to consider,
in light of the equally compelling argument that i just hate recycling,
so i light everything on fire to remove the need to do so.
at any rate,
the days are passing,
the year is ending,
the season has greeted us,
and what's more,
it's already overstayed its welcome,
and it just got here.
time has elapsed faster than our eyes and hearts can keep track.
we're off book,
under the radar,
outside the law,
and it's all still really happening.
i've signed the forms,
i've paid my fee,
the unfolding universal magic is underway;
never quiet, never soft.....

Monday, December 21

winter is for losers

today, kids.
today is the day.
the start of the end,
the cold-snapping caught-napping deep freeze,
the darkest day,
the shortest glimpse of brightness,
the most terrible twenty four hours on the calendar.
it's winter,
and the solstice is not calling for an armistice with ma nature.
why bother?
nature wins regardless.
this is it.
and i'll be honest,
i'm not terribly excited.
will i have a furious fire tonight?
i mean, c'mon, neighbors-
rules is rules,
and we make sure to mark all important occasions with ceremony,
even the most odious.
that's real.
i'm refinancing the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress today.
i am.
effectively assuming total legal ownership of a massive manse
i've already solely occupied for a great many years-
but now,
with the added bonus of having a literal deed that designates me, and me alone,
as the main man in the great hall of this hallowed house.
what makes a house more of a home?
taking the hovering haunt of a failed and derailed past,
and exorcising it right out, and off the page,
and at a two-point benefit on interest rates, for good measure.
the permanent record is being wiped clean.
expunging the major mistake of my thirties,
and preparing the battlefield for a furious tour-de-force in my forties.
that's no joke,
and getting old means getting down to business faster,
since there's so much less time left for F*ing around.
it's all feeling sort of like this:

triceratops is the best one.
no-bake chocolate coconut oatmeal is delicious.
together, however,
all the flavor is there,
and the ingredients are all accurately represented as a whole,
but holy sh!t does that look like sh!t.
y'feel me?
i know it's good,
but why does it have to be so ugly?
oh, right.
because that's what really real life looks like.
i rep a hard style,
and i'll sign a hard bargain,
and i'll even drive a long ways to get there.
i've covered five years in two,
and that's something to be proud of, probably.
so, i s'pose i'm back on track,
and that's for certain in accordance with the dominant decree of the day-
just be dope, or F* right off,
which has a subsidiary addendum which also applies-
stay ugly, stay dope.
on the ones,
real life is a real sunovab!tch,
but all the alternatives are a bunch of mincey rat bastards.
that's the truth.
now it's winter,
and it's the start of a whole new era of active participation,
and a brand new catalog of curated spirit and memory.
waffles help with that:

is that bacon?
not even kinda.
although, barley almost sorta kinda, maybe, it's like bacon, only gayer.
those are real maple syrup covered brick-colored straps of smoky pink rectangle.
that's honestly a more accurate description.
i've got food in my bellyhole,
and there's treats on the counters,
so i guess winter being here can't ruin today, anyway-
all the crap-ricorns of the earth begin to experience their time to shine,
in the darkest time there is all year.
word up,.
it's a bleak and black sort of season,
and it's the one i'm made out of.
my kid, maple, is celebrating a fatty boombattie berfday tomorrow, too.
and that's a tough one right there and then, or here and now, for that matter-
an actual factual nightmare before christmas,
when some old fat bearded guy is trying to overshadow your birth
with candy canes and some baloney about the big baby jesus.
even if nothing else goes right,
there WILL be cake;
and i'm gonna send a secret special message to the secret universal draftsmen
of the secret universal plans to let this time around be more expert than ever.
i am grateful for the time i have been given,
even though most of it has been an A*-kickin' tickin' tock of the clock;
never quiet, never soft.....


here's a little test for you....
if you can't hang out with this,
you're an A*-hole.

you still hangin?
i hope so.
i mean, for serious,
that's special.
i'm just sayin',
it's real flippin' kyoooooooooooot.
oh, stop it.
i'm allowed to like my little dude.
we spend each morning out cruising the 'hood,
climbing onto strangers' property on strangers' properties,
properly trespassing and snagging ourselves some photo ops where we find them.
on the real,
why leave the seat next to ol' saint nick open,
if not for some forrest gumpery moments with my main homeboy?
my forest realm has got some expert spots in it,
and the immediate streets that surround the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress
are all filled with friendly people.
that's really good news considering i usually pop up out of the woods
in their backyards.
there're a lot of guns in new hampshire, guys,
i'm just glad none of them are being pointed at crabtree and i whilst
we prowl around in the hedges and appear like magic
in the dooryards of the local populace.
there's no time left for laying around.
i'm up early,
and i've got big plans for the day.
there's papers to sign,
car repairs to see to,
cake to bake,
and bags to pack.
my annual family christmastime in connecticut is about to get crackin',
that's four days of doing everything all at once,
and teenage berfdays,
and friendly visits,
and all the things at all the times that escape notice and attention
while i'm a ways away in the mountains of the north.
there will be feasting and dancing, duders,
and all of it is about to start.
this is it,
and there's not likely to be less of it by tomorrow;
never quiet, never soft.....

the XI cookies of XImas- 10&XI

this is it, neighbors.
the last two types of treats in the XImas display.
check the holiday-hottness-type teleport:

kaBOOMfire crimbo explosions, kids.
nevermind the santa-hat dog,
disregard the sparkly bow that matches the mat,
and focus instead on those circles of sugary sexxiness
i've baked up for all y'all.
peanut buttery oatmeal chocolate chip jauns?!
they're so expert,
especially since i didn't fork-cross-hatch a hashtag into the tops,
and instead went into the realm of doo-doo glazy icing excellence.
ganache-tops, and two types of two-tone holiday sprankles, to boot.
wordimus prime.
anybody can bake some bullsh!t,
it takes an awareness of what's actually molto fresh to fire up an oven's worth of
warrior poetry in peanuts and butter.
and sure,
i hyped up the edges with some of those star-spangled brown sugar buttersnaps,
but can you really blame me?
i mean, c'mon.
that's some superior staging right there, don't you think?
aw, thanks.
i try to make it interesting for you guys.
i figured if it's time to close out the cookie feast documentation,
then i'd better end with the greatest hit i've got in my catalog-
albie rock bloxxx.
snowy-sugar-star-stenciled original recipe legendary dopeness,
in coconut oatmeal chocolaty chipper circles of sensuality.
i know about decadence,
i know about indulgence,
and i know about cookies.
twenty two years i've been improving my signature sign off,
and here it is,
number eleven,
turned up to eleven,
loud, fresh, hard, (but still chewy),
and ready to rock your mutha-F*ing socks right off.
i don';t have time in my day to waterbabyishly spritz around
wasting precious minutes of creative active participation.
i make moves, and i make them count,
i make cookies, and i make them expert.
i make a mess, and i leave it.
i don't give any sh!ts about that part.
i'm busy over here putting stuffed toys in the frame, y'all.
curating the hot fire,
creating the hot treats,
culminating in a brutal feast of hyperglycemic 'gariousness,
as ferociously as my face can fill itself.
today is a big day,
and tomorrow is even bigger.
i've got things to do,
and then stuff to take care of,
and then matters to attend to,
and lastly, some situations to deal with-
responsible adulthood is underway,
parental obligations are in full effect,
family togetherness is impending,
and there's a few literal last minute errands i've still got to run.
it's non-stop action over here-
all of it, always, and never ever anything less-
too much is the right amount,
and i haven't experienced a lesson in lessening in leap years;
never quiet, never soft.....

Sunday, December 20

the XI cookies of XImas- 8&9

chocolate is good for you.
that's a thing.
too much is the right amount.
that's another thing.
the XI kinds of crimbo cookies for XImas.
that's a whole other 'nother thing.
and when those three get together and brainstorm,
we get to eat some expert treats.
check the teleport:

we got those chocolate-covered chocolate chocolate chip jauns, neighbors.
that's what's up.
cocoa in 'em,
mini-itty-bitty baby chiplets everywhere,
and ganache on top,
with those holiday sprankles lookin' molto magical, too.
they've got the rock block hottness, with deeper darker doo-doo decadence
dumped into the dough, and drenching the whole dang plate with dopeness.
there's those other other jammie-jammers up there, too.
cinnamon oatmeal drops,
chunky, chewy, hearty heaps of whole grain and spice,
strongly sauced-up with almond drizzle icing.
it's the almond that activates the inner fire.
i dunno, but i can taste it, so it must be real.
and we've got alternating red and green sugar crystal sprankles, too.
i mean,
if you hate sprankles,
that's sort of like saying that ten is loud enough.
don't be dumb, duders.
exxxtra-activation is what makes everything exxxtra-expert.
i think that treats are a good thing.
i also thing that there's no such thing as too much of a good thing.
the veterinarian that interacts with my little battle-barrel-beast
says that crabtree might be eating one or two too many treats.
i can't say for certain that that's true,
but he IS getting pretty flippin' hefty.
37+ pounds this week, and he'll be 4 months old tomorrow.
he's solid,
and he's stout,
and according to her,
he's on the cusp of being a chunky monkey,
it's a minor adjustment here and there to his diet,
and hopefully,
he'll continue apace with his size, upwards, not outwards,
and maintain his limitless stamina and superior sweetness,
but maybe, with time, back off a bit on the biting as a way of saying hello.
the thing is,
he's built just like his sire,
who also happens to be a D&D dwarven battlerager.
check the ghost-of-DMXmas-future-type teleport:

that's a solid dude, y'know?
i guess i indulge my dude.
the trick is to find a way to doo-doo that training shh!t with fewer delicious delights,
and more hugs or something.
i dunno.
i learned a long time ago that if you buy your friends,
you never stop paying.
real talk.
we'll see where the road to physical fitness finds us in the new year,
but i s'pose crabby and i will make the necessary adjustments-
i do what needs doing, whenever it needs doing,
and he has no thumbs, so i predict he'll be obliged to do what i tell him.
it's all really happening,
eleven kinds of treats,
eleven pounds in twenty two days,
eleven days of XImas,
all of it-
and i'm grateful for the time i have been given;
never quiet, never soft.....

Saturday, December 19

pulchritudo vanescit

^ain't that the truth, neighbors.
check the nature-wins-type teleport:

weirdie winter flowers, and leaves,
in dried brown sepia and murmuring waterfalls.
the brook is babbling it's secrets,
and the leaves are still there, listening and not hearing,
well past the point when actions should've taken precedence
really, they should've fallen off some time ago...
it's nearly winter,
and holding on instead of letting go isn't going to get them anywhere good.
they're beautiful,
which i can certainly appreciate,
but that does't make the big picture any less dead.
if you know, you know,
and if you don't know, you won't.
nature wins,
and the secret universal plan doesn't allow for side bets.
there's an injurious inevitability to the four seasons in new england.
they're all hard, and they're all reliable in their undependability.
that's some sh!t.
knowing that the external forces want to eff us up,
we've only got each other to man the gates.
friends take sides,
but nature takes over.
it's us vs her,
and she will always win.
divided or united, the end is always the same;
never quiet, never soft.....

the XI cookies of XImas- 6&7

thumbs up, thumbs down,
thumb prints from the thumb prince.
that's how today is going to play out.
so many thumbprints,
and most of them are delicious.
that's real.
i made two kinds of thumbin' hitchhikers,
and in the professionally appreciative and very qualified opinion
of my great big ol' mouth,
they're both pretty flippin' expert.
check the teleport:

i'm about that beige, kids.
we got pecan sandy-style jauns over there,
with biscoff creme filling, and a pecan brain smartening up the tops,
and then, on the other side,
there's cinnamon oatmeal magic,
with cinnamaple creamchee' pastry filling,
and seasonally appropriate, site-specific white-christmasy sexy sugar sexagonal
snowflake sprankles to elevate the overall loveliness beyond the beige.
the XI crimbo crumbo crunchy cookies of XImas are ALL good.
these ones just happen to look good, as well.
little cuties are one thing,
but big flavor is a whole other 'nother thing to consider.
the hardest part is avoiding the urge to oversugar!
i mean, c'mon,
without the bitter, no amount of sweet, not even too much,
which is my personal favorite, can ever be all that sweet.
that's a hard style,
but, then again,
i'm sort of a hard stylist, aren't i?
i made a lot of cookies this year,
and i made a lot of cookies this week.
the thing of it is,
i do what i do, and i do most of it solo.
and like han, i've got my wookie,
or at least, my white wampa warrior poet, crabtree,
to stare at me while i knead the dough, stir the batter, and mix the mixes.....
he doesn't help much, but it still counts that he's here with me.
i mean, while we're stirring the pot,
we're both all mixed up, and making the most of what we've got.
my life isn't ay easier because i have him.
not one aspect, not one moment, not even a little tiny bit,
he's given me an opportunity to be the resolute and really real-walkin' and talkin'
kind of firm and determined duder i need to be.
dogs don't understand exceptions,
they make them the rules,
which means that the rules can't bend,
or they break.
i love that,
because i live that.
it's all really happening,
and that's the whole point;
never quiet, never soft......


lookin' through the retouched pictures i send out,
i think it's interesting to note that how i choose to ornament
and decorate and alter my face with colors and patterns
is ALWAYS as a villainous monster.
i guess i know how i'm seen by many,
and i do so terribly hate to disappoint an audience.
seriously, though, neighbors-
it's when you see them all together that the overarching unifying
thematic notes tie the whole big picture into one rogue's gallery of
arch-nemesis and super-bad guys.
check the teleport:

a new league

of enemies

of all good things

ringing in a new era

of ugly mugs

and busted grills

and sour pusses

and doombringing doo-doo butter

and hard styles

and homely all-alonely moments of introspective extroversion,
and password protected sociable but desolate and detached interaction.
i do this sort of thing because i don't think there's much art to a selfie,
but there's great artistry in selfie-destruction.
i mean,
wouldn't want to portray myself as a hero.
because i'm not by any means.
in addition,
i am not very interested in showing anybody just how much forehead
i really have under all these hats, either.
that's no good.
so, instead,
it's monsters and mouths,
and a few minutes of anti-maintenance every morning
so i can show a few folks what stay ugly, stay dope is all about.
word up.
i make myself look worse so that i can't be made to look bad.
picture me however you'd like,
but these pictures paint a much clearer vision of the truth.
inside and out,
i'm closer to the drawings than you might be comfortable with-
dorian grey kept his hidden,
i wear mine as a mask;
never quiet, never soft.....